What I Found in the Woods

TM9687 What I Found in the Woods 36×42 oil on panel

Approaching the woods, it’s all about anticipation, wondering what I will find. Sometimes a lovely patch of mature woods, other times the tangled, exuberant growth and broken branches of edges, or the relics of past use. All are fabulous subjects for inspiration, an anchor point for starting a painting. In this case, the colors are wintery with notes of ochre, Mars violet, ultramarine blue, and burnt umber mixed or glazed to form warm/cool intersections. The dark, rolled base and textures show through subsequent layers, adding interest and depth. On another level, learning to follow my instincts and take advantage of the accidents and “mis-takes” gives me more confidence to follow the mysteries out there. More details below. Enjoy.

TM9687 What I Found in the Woods – detail showing use of scraping with infill (broad white bands), and narrow “drawn” lines done with edge of rubber roller
TM9687 What I Found in the Woods Today – detail from right of center with gestures of tangled branches. Walking the woods and overgrown fields in Massachusetts, one usually finds signs of previous use, like old stone walls, foundations, and more recent wooden fence posts.
TM9687 What I Found in the Woods – close-up
TM9687 What I Found in the Woods – detail from upper left side

Technical painting notes: With a bold and unexpected start my priority was keeping as much of the original layer as possible, while bringing in more hints of color and depth. I used translucent grays over colored glazes to soften and recede some areas. I pulled up some of the whites in the scraped parts to reinforce their prominence. I used a roller with various gray mixtures to push some areas further back, soften edges, and for the accidents that always happen. The edge of the roller is great for drawing fine lines.

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